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Flexibility, innovation and adaptation: A year full of learning for education

One of the great lessons that COVID 19 has left us is the need and urgency to focus on quality comprehensive education for early childhood. The inequity on this front has become more evident and it is imperative to identify and prioritize these needs so as not to create further gaps and to ensure that we develop the potential of ALL children.

As for many organizations of various sectors, sizes and industries, at aeioTU, we embrace this crisis as an opportunity for an introspective look, to strengthen ourselves as we looked for other alternatives with flexibility, innovation, an immense capacity for adaptation.

We couple our educational model and training and accompaniment processes to others, through non-face-to-face, virtual services, hybrid formats, home modalities and the digital platform. We managed to impact the lives of more than 120,000 children, 7,000 educators and 99,000 families thanks to our direct operation projects, consultancies and special projects in various cities and municipalities of Colombia, as well as in Panama and Mexico.

During this process we have also identified challenges that go beyond our capacity for innovation and flexibility. Of the families that are part of our operation in public centers, 40% have access through a computer, 50% through a smartphone and 10% have a cell phone. In addition to this information, despite having the tools to be able to access educational contents through virtuality, many of them do not have connectivity, especially in dispersed rural areas, which generates a greater gap in remote populations.

Likewise, although our Educational Experience is characterized by the inclusion and participation of families and communities, this crisis has also been characterized by the challenge that this poses for families that are not prepared for a pedagogical accompaniment of the magnitudes that this implies. . Especially for the most vulnerable families, this is a destabilizing factor, since many of them are linked to the informal economy and have to continue producing their livelihood, leaving their children, not in the care and comprehensive attention of our centers, but to the of relatives, friends or acquaintances, with the consequences that this entails.

This new reality has had the majority of children under 5 years old at home, their parents and caregivers overwhelmed by the non-continuity of their children's learning processes and teachers unsure of how to support them. A present that offers complex questions about education, the role of the father, mother, caregiver and teacher, among others. It also opens opportunities for reciprocal dialogue and the participation of various actors in the various learning environments. The need emerges today more than ever to strengthen the development of socio-emotional skills, play as a learning strategy, positive relationships and building affective bonds.

We're going forward. Today we have developed Aprendiendo, a free digital platform with more than 5,000 users and more than 1,500 open content, aimed at parents, caregivers and teachers that has the purpose of taking our Educational Experience beyond the possibilities presented by physical infrastructures. Our private centers already implement a hybrid educational model, close to the needs of families, with virtual care models, home teachers and special programs tailored to measure. Our consultancies and special projects have been enriched with flexible digital tools that complement divergent and plural training processes in languages.

We think about the role of the educational infrastructure in this new scenario. The deconstruction of the classroom becomes an opportunity for innovation to bring quality education and care to ALL children, regardless of their ability to access technology and connectivity.

This is an effort that invites the participation, flexibility and adaptability of all sectors. Governments, academia, teachers, civil society organizations and the private sector are called to rewrite a future that has not yet happened, but in which we can influence and add value by understanding the lessons that this time has given us to grow and improve, to continue to contribute to the development of the full potential of Early Childhood. Convinced that together we can achieve it!

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